APHIS Proposed Changes in Virus Elimination Payment Rates

November 8, 2018

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed to change the way payments are made to layer operations during an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  The changes will also apply to cases of low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) if the virus is subtype H5 or H7.  Comments on the proposal are due December 3.

“The rate for table egg laying birds is based on a cubic-yard basis rather than a per-bird basis,” APHIS said, “and the rate for table egg storage and processing facilities is based on a square-foot basis.  This facility size-based rate would be a change from previous flat rates, which were calculated on a per-bird basis.”  APHIS now uses the term virus elimination rather than cleaning and disinfection, and prefers heat disinfection rather than wet cleaning, which the agency asserts “increases the risk for spread of disease” because it leaves a “damp environment.”

Virus elimination payments are separate from indemnities based on the value of birds and foregone egg production.  APHIS’s announcement does not deal directly with indemnity rates.

UEP staff is conducting a comprehensive review of the new proposal and consulting with its members to determine the impact that the proposal would have on egg farms that suffer avian influenza outbreaks.  This includes calculating the cubic yard payment utilizing a variety of farm configurations and comparing the estimated payment with the previous per bird payment.  Comments, based on staff findings, will be submitted to APHIS once approved by the UEP Board.